Bundle of fun?
So does 20,000 Leaks, an odd little game which puts one or two of you in a glass box on the seabed and asks you to stop leaks created by cheerfully malevolent cartoon sea creatures that have presumably mistaken you for the Pixar talent scouts who turned them down for parts in Finding Nemo. Leaks appear on the floor and three walls and you need to plug them with your hands, feet or even head; leaks linked by cracks need to be stoppered simultaneously, the game pushing you into gently contorted positions like a 3D Twister.
It's a good demonstration of Kinect's limb-tracking and 3D movement, and there's a curious pleasure and even quiet awe to be had from controlling a game with precise placement of your feet for the first time. But like most of Adventures' games, upping the difficulty results in frenetic flailing about rather than a test of skill.
Finally we have Space Pop, hitherto unheralded, and it's not hard to see why. One or two players stand in a low-gravity chamber and have to pop bubbles with their bodies, moving forward and backward and from side to side and flapping their arms to fly up to the ceiling. The bubble patterns get more complex, but the game remains silly, boring, and frustrating to control.
Every level in Kinect Adventures – River Rush has six, the other games nine apiece – is instantly available in Free Play, but you can also choose to play the game in Adventure mode. One or two players can complete a series of 'Adventures', unlocking four difficulty levels and being rewarded with digital trinkets as they go: avatar vanity items, say, or 'living statues' that you can amusingly animate with your own voice and movement.
The Adventures are just strings of the game's levels, occasionally subjected to extremely mild cosmetic remixes. There's the race-against-the-clock Timed Play (unlockable as a separate play mode), in which the pins become time extends, or the mode in which the red Adventure pins become, um, blue Treasure pins. There's no real variation in design; you always have to collect as many pins as possible, either physically or as a reward for success.
As with Joy Ride, it's a rather forced attempt at grinding out the lifespan of a simple game through a progress-and-reward structure. However, Adventures does at least have the good grace to offer most of its content for free play from the start, and kids will probably enjoy collecting the goodies. You can share and upload the de rigueur embarrassing snaps and there's even online play.
It's not a party game to match Sports, however. It's nice to play in company, but most of Adventures' mini-games aren't particularly designed for or improved by multiplayer, and there's scant competitive spirit to be squeezed out of it. It's breezy, polished and charmingly presented – the interface picked out in stitches of brightly-coloured thread like a scout's reward badge – but ultimately throwaway.
It's easy to see why show crowds and first-time users are reliably wowed by Adventures; it's original, cute, tailored to Kinect's unique capabilities, and impressively committed to the idea of full-body, real-time motion control on screen at all times. But with just five games it can ill afford one dud or sustain a laboured campaign mode, and without compelling multiplayer there's little reason to persevere with it after the wow factor wears off.
Our advice: load Adventures as soon as you unpack your Kinect and enjoy it, preferably with small children to hand. Within a couple of weeks it will be gathering dust: another brave bundled game, first up out of the trenches, first to fall.